RiverLink hosting Twitter chat Thursday to answer drivers' questions

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Drivers using Louisville’s toll bridges have a new way to pay their bills.

After months of planning, Kentucky and Indiana have introduced an online “pay-by-plate” option for people who have crossed one of the three tolled spans but don’t have an account with the RiverLink system.

The approach is meant to let drivers settle their outstanding tolls before they receive a bill in the mail.

It’s also part of a “get well plan” the states announced last winter in response to feedback from drivers during the first year of tolls on the Interstate 65 Lincoln and Kennedy bridges and the upriver Lewis and Clark Bridge.

“Several of those customers told us that they want to be able to cross a toll bridge and they want to be able to take care of those tolls,” RiverLink spokeswoman Mindy Peterson said. “They don’t want to have to wait for an invoice.”

About 700 people have signed up for “pay-by-plate” since it began at riverlink.com late last month, Peterson said. The new payment options lets drivers enter their license plate number, state and the last six digits of a vehicle identification number (VIN) and pay their tolls with a credit or debit card.

Officials suggest waiting three to five days after crossing a tolled bridge before going online to pay. But drivers can be notified by text or email when the transactions are viewable.

The online “pay-by-plate” system can also be used even if a RiverLink bill arrives in the mail. Peterson said the online payment system should help to cut down on late fees owed by drivers who let multiple mailed bills pile up.

Through May, late fees made up a double-digit share of all revenue collected on the RiverLink bridges, WDRB News reported this summer. At that time, those penalties on delinquent bills accounted for $10 million of the $121 million in overall revenue since tolls began in late 2016.

“We’ve always said we are in the business of collecting tolls. We are not in the business of collecting fees,” Peterson said. “So I think this is a good option, and I think it will absolutely head off some of those fees.”

Reach reporter Marcus Green at 502-585-0825, mgreen@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2018 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.

Digital Reporter

Marcus Green joined WDRB News in 2013 after 12 years as a staff writer at the Louisville Courier-Journal. He reports on transportation, development and local and state government.